Jeb Bush's Super PAC is by far the best-financed operation in the Republican primary field, but he's currently in fifth place in national and Iowa polls, and in sixth place in New Hampshire polls. His supporters' previous effort to turn things around with the "Jeb can fix it" slogan didn't work. So now the Super PAC has decided the problem is that people don't know enough of the Jeb Bush story.
The fix, they think, is a 15-minute documentary telling Jeb Bush's life story. You see, you might think of him as an obscure former governor who's only considered a serious candidate because his big brother and his dad both used to be president. But according to The Jeb Story, Bush is actually a guy who's "always charted his own course," knows about "fixing the problem before it's a crisis," and is ideally suited to "break the gridlock in Washington."
Watch it for yourself here:
This ad, I think, illustrates the fundamental disconnect between the Jebverse and the rest of planet Earth.
In the Jebverse, people appear to genuinely believe the following things:
- Florida in the mid-1990s was a disastrous wasteland.
- Florida today is an extremely well-governed state.
- Facts 1 and 2 are widely believed by the American people.
Therefore, the key to unlocking Jeb's electoral potential is to persuade the voters that it is Jeb Bush who personally deserves credit for the miraculous wonderfulness of Florida. If the American people can just get out from the shadow of Jeb's big brother, who happens to have presided over the most devastating terrorist attack in American history and the worst job creation since Herbert Hoover, then they will see Jeb as the true apostle of the Florida miracle.
The boring truth is that the United States experienced an enormous house price bubble in the recent past. That bubble was unusually intense in Florida. And by coincidence, the Florida housing bubble coincided with Jeb Bush's term in office. As long as the bubble was going up, up, up, Florida's economy boomed, and there was plenty of room to cut taxes without inflicting much pain. By the time the party was over, Bush was out of office.
It's not an incredibly damning story, but it's not an incredibly heroic one, either. Yet somehow this entire boom — the average price of a house in Florida more than doubled while Jeb was in office — is completely missing from his biography.